The Family Recovery Process

TELUS ROOM 106 April 4th 1:30 Pm, TELUS Convention Centre

About this session

Addiction can have a lasting impact on the entire family, even when a loved one is in recovery. Despite this widespread recognition, there is a lack of awareness regarding the importance of family members engaging in their own recovery process to heal from the impacts of their loved one’s addiction. In this session, we will explore the concept of family recovery and highlight the need for family members to engage in their own recovery process.

We will present findings from a current study that addresses a critical gap in addiction and recovery-oriented research by investigating how family members understand, experience, and receive support throughout the recovery process. Specifically, we will explore whether family members perceive the need for their own recovery and whether that perception translates into actual engagement in familial support services.

Applying insights from recovery capital research to the family system, we will discuss the importance of building familial recovery capital to predict the initiation of recovery-oriented behaviours—specifically, engagement in personal and peer support services.

This session will also provide insights into current practices of family recovery resources. Through their expertise, our speakers will highlight services offered, the benefits of family recovery on the family system, and address barriers to family members seeking care.

Through a blend of personal experience, academic expertise, and compassionate hearts dedicated to service, this session aims to increase awareness of family healing and empower family members to begin their own recovery journey.

Learning Objectives

1. Understanding the Concept of Family Recovery: This session will highlight, from a family system perspective, the importance of family recovery for one’s own well-being, support for a loved one’s recovery, and healing the family system as a whole.

2. Current Practices and Challenges: This session will highlight family recovery resources and address barriers to family members seeking care.

3. Family Recovery Capital: This session showcases a novel study that measured recovery capital in family members and discussed the importance of building family recovery capital.


1. Bradshaw, S., Shumway, S. T., Wang, E. W., Harris, K. S., Smith, D. B., & Austin-Robillard, H. (2015). Hope, readiness, and coping in family recovery from addiction. Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery, 10(4), 313–336.

2. Cloud, W., & Granfield, R. (2008). Conceptualizing recovery capital: Expansion of a theoretical construct. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(12–13), 1971–1986.

3. Lander, L., Howsare, J., & Byrne, M. (2013). The impact of substance use disorders on families and children: From theory to practice. Social Work in Public Health, 28(0), 194–205.

4. Rouhbakhsh, P., Lewis, V., & Allen-Byrd, L. (2004). Recovering Alcoholic Families: When Is Normal Not Normal and When Is Not Normal Healthy? Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 22(2), 35–53.

Panel Lead: Sarah Engler 

Sarah Engler is an Honours student in psychology at the University of Victoria and is currently completing her thesis under the supervision of Dr. Brianna Turner. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of substance use disorder on the family system and how family members are supported throughout the recovery process. This study takes a novel approach by measuring the recovery capital of family members as a factor predictive of their engagement in the family recovery process.  Sarah’s passion for recovery-oriented research is driven by her personal and professional experience in addiction services. She has seen first-hand the devastating impact that addiction can have on individuals and families. Through her work, Sarah aims to increase awareness of the need for family recovery and develop strategies to improve outcomes for those affected by addiction. Beyond academia, Sarah is a strong advocate for the recovery community. She is eager to work in the field and help build recovery capital within families and communities.  

Panel Speaker: Lerena Greig 

Lerena Greig has worked in the non-profit sector for over 17 years, specifically in the field of addiction and recovery. She has presented all over Alberta to media, corporations, churches, community groups and foundations with her lived experience and advocates for change in the stigma of mental health and addiction.  In 2015, Lerena was presented the Supearlative Philanthropy Award for her volunteering in the community with various inner city organizations.  In 2022, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.  She is a  published author in Mentoring Women Leaders III and volunteers as a Director on the Board for Our House Recovery. 

As Executive Director of Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) Society, Lerena sits on many committees including the Drug Strategy Strathcona County, Steering Committee for the Social Framework for FCS Strathcona County; was on a family advisory board for CASA and was an advisory on the Digital Overdose Response App (DORS).   She manages and implements programs for PEP including a restorative justice program called MEDD-X (motivational education/experience for X Drug Dealers), a program that has seen much success in recovery for the participants. Along with her Executive Director duties, she is one of the professional facilitators for the Family Recovery Group and rotates with her team on the Family Support Line. Lerena is passionate about empowering families and individuals to take that step into personal wellness, into recovery. 

Panel Speaker: Ryan Gilfillan ICADC, CCAC, CCRC

As an accomplished Addiction Counsellor and Family Counsellor, Ryan has dedicated his career to supporting individuals and families in their journey towards healing and wholeness. With over eight years of experience in the field, he is deeply passionate about the transformative power of recovery capital and the vital role that families play in the recovery process.

Ryan has spent his career working as an addiction counsellor at an accredited bed-based treatment facility and Operating his own Supportive Recovery Residence. This includes facilitating process groups, family groups, case management and individual counselling.

Drawing from his diverse background and credentials as an International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC), Canadian Certified Addiction Counselor (CCAC), and Canadian Certified Recovery Coach (CCRC), He brings a unique perspective to the conversation surrounding Recovery Capital within the family system.

Panel Speaker: Lyndsey Hague

Lyndsey Hague is the Executive Director of the new Lakeview Recovery Community opening this summer.   Lyndsey joins ROSC Solutions Group, from the UK where over the last 17 years she has held various operational and leadership roles within the Addiction Recovery sector. She has developed a range of recovery models to support individuals, families and communities. Experienced in mobilizing recovery services across residential, justice, community and housing settings.   As a Therapeutic Community Ambassador and Specialist she has supported the development and assessment of a range residential rehabilitation programs operating in the UK and Europe.  Lyndsey continues to hold the position of Vice Chair of the Scottish Government Residential Rehabilitation Development Working group. A group to support the ongoing capacity building and development of residential recovery programs across Scotland and to ensure equity of access to treatment and recovery. Recently Lyndsey implemented the first Specialist Family Therapeutic Community in Scotland – a program to support parents alongside their children. And also a specialist provision to support Women with embedded trauma-responsive care in England. Lyndsey is Trustee of My Support Day, a charity in Scotland which supports families and loved ones who have been affected by someone else’s substance use.

Alberta model